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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  September 28, 2011 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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brent scowcroft, zbigniew brzezinski and stephen hadley and rmer treasury secretary lawrence summers. >> overly strong states are profound threats to their own citizens and to others, but the vacuums are as well. so on the one hand, one wanted to dismantle this totalitarian apparatus that had meant so much that was wrong in the world for 70 years, on the other hand one did have to maintain an awareness of, as i say, the historical danger of vacuums. >> think the soviet union ended when it did because yeltsin pulled it right out from under gorbachev. >> if there was no soviet union he had no job. >> i personally think that put is an transitional episode it won't lead to some restoration of totalitarian or some person
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innocent aocracy, it is going to fade. >> what was the casualty of events we celebrate 20 years ago was not only the freeing of eastern europe and the end of the viet union but it was the death of communism and the end of communism as an ideoly. >> rose: i look at russia's past, present and future next. funding for charlie rose was provided by the following. >> every story needs a hero we can all root for. who beats the odds and comes out on top. but this isn't just a hollywood storyline, it is happening every day all across america. every time a storefront opens, or the midnight oil is burned or when someone chase as dream, not just a dollar. they are small business owners, so if you want to root for a
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real hero, support small business, shop small. >> rose: additional funding provided by these funders. >> and by bloomberg, a provider of muimedia news and formation servic worldwide. >> from our studios captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: after world war 2, international diplomacy was mark by conflict between the yoewing's sarcoma say and the sovietnion, for near a nearly 50 yearit was political discord and economic competition, much of the world became divided between the allies of the united states and nato and the allies of the soviet union and its eastern blockbuster. in 1985 mikhail gorbachev became
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the leader of the stove toyota union, the eventually collapse of the ussr in 1991. 20 years later, many questions remain, what waysed the fall of the soviet union? was it a yearning for freedom or the strict of an economic and systemic collapse? how did the world respond? and what are the implications for today? this year, we mark the 20th anniversary .. of those historic events with a discussion at the knight studio at the museum in washington, dc. it is in partnership with the carnegie endowment for international peace, joining me is a distinguished group with extensive experience on the soviet union and russia during their time in office. brent scowcroft served as the serity advor under gerald ford and george hw brush, zbigniew brzezinski was national curity advisor for president jimmy carter, stephen hadley was the national security advisor for president george w. bush, lawrence summers was treasury
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secretary under president bill clinton and economi advisor for barack obama. here is the conversation at the museum about the 20th an disrers i are of the fall of the soviet union. and i begin with the question that i raised in this introduction, what, in fact, caused the clams of the soviet union? was ate yearning on the part of the people or somehow an economic and systemic clams of a system that could not go on? >> if in place of gorbachev who came in in 1985 with a sort of a mandate to get things going again, because you had a series of either senile or sick, three heads of the soviet union. >> rose: general secretary of the communist pa. >arty. >> general secretary of the comist party. and gorbachev had a mission. >> rose: and he was young and vibrant and -- >> that's right. but if insad of gorbachev
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there had been another brezhv for example i think things might have been very different, i think gorbachev, he was not a democrat, but he was trying to ramify the soviet union as a competit, and so he did things to -- he did, you know, an assault on absenteeism, drunkenness, corruption, anso on, and he changed some of the rules, some of the punitive rule, arbitrary rules that were so negative for the soviet people. to try to get production up, to try to improve productivity, and in that -- and in doing that, he unrmined the system. >> rose: we know there were different ideas about the strength of the soviet union within our own government and the cia, were we surprised by what happened? when gorbachev came to power and decided what he was prepared to do?
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>> i think we were, i think we were surprised, in part, because we had been used to, well, with brezhnev, then i can't remember his name,. >> rose: andropov. >> andropov and then concern co. >> cher then co, so rbachev was kind of a breath of fresh air, somebody we could deal with, as a matter of fact, margaret thatcher after the first meeting and said here is a man i can deal with. so we sort of took .. him at face value in a sense, but in the bush administration, when he came into power there had been a lot ofalk, well the cold war is ove and gorbachev's etoric was very different, but we didn't think the cold war was over, because the cold war was a division of eastern europe, and nothing in fact had changed on th ground. >> rose: why was the collapse
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peaceful? zbigniew. >> i think it was peaceful because it was so comprehensive. your basic question asked, was it because of freedom or was it because of economic conditions? and of course was it because of gorbachev? of course, it was all three, but they weren't all the same. for example, the request quest for freedom really wasn't within the soviet union or democracy, it was in the soviet bloc block, and that undermined the external part of the soviet system .. and created a real crisis. the crisis got worse because the economics of the soviet union was in a mess and couldn't respond to the challenge that it was facing within the soviet bloc. it couldn't give freedom to the blockbuster and could, bloc and couldn't bribe it with economic assistance so that made things much worse and gorbachev was beating his head against an existing system, exrimenting a lot, doing wonderful things, in some respects, as we look at it, but in otherays, doing odd
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thgs like for example trying to prevent the russians from drinking alcohol. which created enorms disruption, both economicall and in terms of social behavior. andemoralized the party while they, whi an example of the bloc is disintegrating for national reasons began to effect the nonrussian pele d they began to demanmore and more autonomy and that began to raise to crescendo. >> first to decentralize the soviet union and then to dismantle it so we had a very dynamic and cplicated process here that unfolded before our eyes. >> gorbachev also believed you could reform communism. >> yes, oh, yes, which is what yeltsin did not, was not prepared to believe. >> i believe that there are many parts of this, obviously, but a pervasive loss of legitimacy, associated with pervasive competence in doing the
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minimal things that a government has to do, allowing people stdards of living to go anywhere. it is almost without precedent in modern society and peacetime that life expectancy declined significantly, as it was in the soviet union before 1989. chernobyl was the tip of an iceberg of growing numbers of accidents caus by lack of supervision. the world was opening up, and people could see mor outside, and trying to keep things closed and hierarchical was becoming more and more dyunctional and the saving grace of the russian economy, the possession of significant quantities of oil became worth muc less as the price of oil plummeted. so there was a profound loss of legitimacy of the existing
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order, which affected what happened inside russia, which affected what happened inside the other republicans of the soviet union, gorbachev was a respond to that. he tried one set of strategies, the truth is, there probably was no strategy that preserved high a chal communism and allowed that to continue. >> what was .. gorbachev's legacy, then? larry? >> his legy was an unintended and unsought legacy. it was the peaceful dissolution of the empire he inherited. the economic system he had vowed to energize, and the political system for which he held trust
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as the new leader,and it was that all of that fell away, but recognizing what trends were in motion, he allowed it to fall away without doing what probably was within his power, summoning forth tremendous violent forces. >> rose: as they sometimes say about leaders they have their priorities wrong. some will argue if gorbachev had taken the chinese course, not so much political freedom but focused on the economy, he may have been more successful. stephen? >> i think a lot of people say that. he tried to do the two. he thought they were related. they are related,nd he thought you needed to lead with the political reform, the boston new orleans saints, glosnost to shake up the political system, but i think we have to look at
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it as unwitting legacy, he really thought he could transform the system under the communist ideology, that turned out to be wrong. second of all, of course, it starts in eastern germany,nd he decides and sends the message that russian tanks are not going to bail out east germany, and once it is clear that people, that the fear is gone, people vote with their feet, and the wall comes down. is a critical decision, and i think in somesense, yeltsin gets some support in this way, for whatever reason, yeltsin felt russia needed to simply shake off the soviet empire, and he thought that russia, in order for russia to emerge in some sense he had to kill the soviet union in order to kill the soviet union he had to kill communism. so there is a rule that he plays in all of this, as well. >> one minor correction, though. e distegration of the soviet
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bloc ended in east germany but it actually started east of germany in poland and the balance tick rep, hungary, and gorbachev's decision not to intervene the way brezhnev intervened in czechoslovakia opened theloodgates and by the time germany erupted the situation was still out of control and was beginning to affect the ukrainians and the russians, the georgians and others. >> yet in is extremely important in the end ofhe soviet union, becausthey started out as allies and buddies. >> rose: right. >> and they got estranged and eventual yeltsin hated gorbachev, and when he came back from yalta after the coup, yeltsinublicly humiliated him and i think the soviet union ended when it did because yeltsin pulled it right out from under gorbachev.
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gorbacv, if there was no soviet union, head job. so i think that tactics of it were strongly influenced the relationship between tse two. >> and it was a historic moment and i think zbigniew brzezinski is right, it was on world tell situation, television, gorbachev comes back from moscow relieved from the very brief intern. and yet in is triumphant and they have a joint meeting, fresh conference and so forth, and in the course of it, yeltsin says something to the effect that this is the end of the communist party and gorbachev protests and says, no, no, it isn't, we have to democratize and yeltsin says no it is the end and pulls out a piece of paper and signs it and says i have no signe a decree disbanding the communistarty of the soviet union. >> rose: so let's talk about how the united states was reactinghile this was happening. what decisions were we making about being supportive, about
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communicating a sense that we were pleased by this and we were prepared not to take advantage of it? >> well, let me say, what the policy of the bush administration was when i came into office. there was ferment in eastern europe. and there had been in cases in the pasterlin, hungary, czechoslovakia, each time the viet union came in and crushed it, killed the demonstrators, and we were worried that that could be repeated. so what we wanted to do was encourage eastern europeans inpendence and development but at a pace that was under the soviet radar, either that they would react or that they would over throw gorbachev in a coup. now, we didn't know what that pace was, but that w our strategic goal. now, there was a coup, but it was in 1991, and it was too late, and too inept, really to
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make a difference. >> rose: we began to development two things that are important policy points and i want to talk first about the economics. what has been called shock thery, was that a mistake, larry? >> i think that the pple who have gone back and have studied the different pts of the former soviet union and centr europe have consistently found that those who did moreeform more quickly are in stronger position economically today than those who did less reform and did it more slowly. so in the fullness of it, those who moved to the market were rewarded for it. you look at the balce tick countries, you look at thezech republic, and pand. supported through primarily through the international financial institutions and
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secondarily with our own funds, we supported the process of reform. that support came with conditions. we, for example, insisted that if we were going to put money in there be a policy framework that made it likely that that money would stay the country, rather than come outside the country. we provided support for stabilization, but conditioned it on pursuing policies that would prevent -- that would prevent hyperinflation. were those policies broadly correct? i think they were. with the benefit of hindsight, can you find errors in the policies that were pursued? that one would wish the imf had intervened in some way to stop? absolutely one can. but would an idea of simply
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providing funds witho any enuragement to policy reform have been a better strategy? i very seriously doubt that it would have been a better strategy. were there successes in central europe or the formeroviet union of a highly gradual-ist strategy, i don't think so, i know many people make the argument there was some alternative chinese model, that if pursued would have been aveiling, i think that is a misreading of the enomic difference .. between the challenges china faced and the vastly greater challenges that russia and the other soviet rerepublicans faced, china was primarily an agricultural country, millions of people
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farming, what the received had nothing that was correlated with what they produced. if you simply had the idea that instead of everybody picks rice and everybody gets the same amount, how much rice you get has something to do with how much rice you pick, you could start an economic miracle underway and china did. ssia wasn't primarily an agriltural country. that kind of thing w not available to it. so who was. >> rose: so who was the attitude, then, of russia about the united states? did they feel the, the russia leadership feel the united states was, could have been done more. >> i think they ought we could do more, yes. at the time, we were going through a budget problem, though, and i remember the orders that if you wanted to spend some money that wasn't in the budget you had to fund somewhere else in the budget to spend it, on the workers go to the streets and saw we wanted to
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provide some assistance. it was embarrassingly tiny, and so when gorbachev comes to us and asks for help, we told him to go to west germany. in addition to the imf. we did not -- we did not help much economically. >> rose: lay on top of this nato expansion. zbig. >> did it send a message to the russians that we were trying to encircle them? >> the fact of the matter is that the clams of the soviet power in central europe cated a vacuum, a vacuum which is being filled by the demratic aspirations but al a great deal of uncertainty. i think the west and the united states responded correctly overtime, because it took almost a decade to enlarge nato, which every one of the countries that entered nato desperately wanted to do, so it was in keeping with their aspirations.
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what i think wdid not do sufficiently was to use that same periodof time to engage the russians in more wide-ranging discussion of security arrangements, security arrangements between us and the soviet union, the former soviet united states of america, russia under the new circumstances, but also some of the other post soviet, nonrussian states. i wrote a little bit about this. >> rose: you wrote a book that said basically this was a time in which the united states missed a huge opportunity. >> yes, because we could have been engad the russian in security discussions that might have created a kind of a structure, a loose structure of mutual reassurance. >> rose: so how did putin come to power? >> well, putin came to power because of the internal failure in the siet union of the yet sin regime. >> rose: in russia -- >> i'm sorry, bad habit of mine. i have been living with the soviet union for such a long time, that it is hard not to think of that area as the soviet union.
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>> rose: the failure of yement sin opened the, yeltsin led the way for his o -- >> he hand picked -- >> it was a tragic failure because yeltsin was a complicated individual who was a at one point a true and similar pliferk believer in the doctrine an then became completely disillusioned with it and discovered a new sense of identity namely, russia, rather than the soviet union, and he started responding to the very naahatural aspiration of the russians to express their identity politically, economically, and to seek, again, some major role in the world scene. and he found it very difficult to do that in the midst of an economic crisis. the moralization, corruption, competition, and last but not least, his own affliction with alcohol. which was a serious, serious problem which sometimes we didn't know too much deliberately because we didn't want to offend him or embarrass him, but this was a man who
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really was an alcoholic. >> rose: where has putintaken russia and how do we look at russia today? >> well, the judgment that he also has missed an opportunity. he wanted an understanding, and understandably so, to re-establish a sense of pride and of status, and that is normal, acceptable and certainly wod be a goodhing for russia, but also for the world, when cone in a larger framework but heaw it increasingly as something that was to be a corrective to the recent past. he famously said, the greatest calamity of the 20th century was the dissolution of t soviet union. now can you imagine what he is really saying, a greater calamity than world war i, which killed millions of people, a greater calamity than world war ii, which killed scores of millions of peop, plus the
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holocaust, the killings within russia, 1937, one very good example, because there is documentation on it, in 1937, on an individual basis, 770,000 russians were executed. and nonrussians within the soviet union. staggering statistic, and this is the kind of century we lived through and yet he nostalgically talks amount that not only being the worst century of the 20th century but tries to create an economic, a commonwealth und moscow's control, whic really is moss stall i didn't a, one of the splits between him and med jeff that he, medvedev was rejecting that nostalgia and identifying himself with it .. and he therefore has difficult very subsequent, difficult strerjd russia from the course
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that may have been open, namely progressive modernization, increasing democratization, and greater ties with the west and so forth. >> rose: is there more individual freedom today in china or in russia? >> rusa. russia. >> russia is a traditional autocracy, it is not a totalitarian state. in the press it is relatively op and if you go to russia and read newspapers in russia these days, they really give you a diversity of views and a lot of real news from the outside world. second, television is really an imitative instrument of western mass media and tries to compete and appeal so the public the same way. beyond that, hundreds of thousands, hundreds of thousands of russians travel abroad regularlyable and tens of thousands study abroad. and then they go back, of course, some of course don't go back. all of that creates a degree of openness to the world which russia has never been
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periced, and this is why i personally think that putin episode is a transitional episode. it is not going to lead to some restoration of totalitarianism or some permanent autocracy, it is going to fade. the question is, wi it fade gradually, peacefully, or wilthere be some new upheaval in russia, maybe not immediately, but within a decade or so? if things continue to deteriorate. >> i think there is another element in the putin thing which is important, because putin is going to be the next president again. and thats, he embods this senseof humiliation at the end of the cold war. president bush senior at the end of the cold war says nobody lost the cold war, we all won because it is over, and we made a real effort for a time. then i think we tended to forget how it probably looked inside the former soviet union, and we
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went ahead and we expanded nato to include some of the former soviet rerepublicans. wwe did away with the abibm tret and putin i heard him say at the munich security conference .. when we were weak and flat on our backs you took advantage of us and walked all overs. and he sided, cited nato and so forth. med yes deaf doesn't have those hang yut and puti did it pt partially for nationally and partly it was sincere .. and i think he gradually is getting over it. >> aoment of history. when the berlin wallame down what was president bush's response? >> his response was very calmly, very quiet, first of all, we weren't sure of what was happening, but he called a press conference in his office to
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announce that the berlin part of it had opened up. and one of the reporters said, mr. president, you don't seem very elated, i would think you would want to go dance on the lawn. >> he said, well i am not that kind of a person. but what he was trying to do is not to shove it in gorbachev's face. as a victory to the west. because what wwere worried about is a coup against gorbachev or something like that. and gorbachev's attitude changed dramatically with the fall of the fall. he had been a supporter of our policy in eastern europe before, because he wanted these little gorbachevs in eastern europe. he changed dramatically after the wall fell because he was apprehensive. >> rose: you served in the clinton administration. what was president clinton's attitude about what to do about russia? >> his urge first was as brent
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said to avoid humiliation in russia was to encourage what took praise at the end of the second wor war in terms of the division of europe. d to support the spread of democracy and market forces as widely as possible. and thatis why he sought mobilized the international financial institutions on a large scale, why he was engaged in extensive summit triwith president yeltsin, why he .. presided over and led an effort to have the g-7 become in
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substantial part an issue in evaluate to recognize russia's importance. but it was a very balance to strike on the one hand, .. respect rather than hu humiliatn was an important lesson of history. on the other hand, he was no longer prepared to have much of what the united states did be defined by what it saw and projected on to what was happening in russia. and so he saw an aggressive policy of personal engagemt with president yeltsin,as very involved and stepped up the efforts at economic reform, but at the same time was very
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mindful of the whole set of security issues, in particular the need to denuclearize and control so-called loose nukes in russia. >> rose: because it always was expressed this concern somehow because they weren't able to pay the military, youknow, that somehowhe nuclear weapons might not be safe. >> you know, there is kind of a broad lesson in history, these gentlemen could probably speak to it better, better than i, is that overly strong states are profound threats to their own citizens and to others, but the vacuums are as well. and so on the one hand, one wanted to dismantlethis totalitarian apparatus that had meant so much that was wrong in the world for 70 years, on the
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other hand, one did have to maintain an awareness of, as i say, the historical danger of vacuums. >> rose: the operative word with respect to russia when president obama came to power was reset. was it necessary to reset the relationship and from what to what? and stephen can respond to that as well. >> oh, i think it was kind of a fashionable word which after all is part of the age of the internet and computers and so forth, but if you ask yourself seriously, what does it really refer to, it refers to some pieces of the relationship, that is to say, see if we can stabilize the security relationship through a treaty that moves us to lower levels of mutual reciprocal threat, and can we address some of the regional issues that are point of contention but not
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necessarily conflict? well, first of all, the legacy of the russia, geoian military clash, but beyond that, a question, for ample of aspirations of the ukrainians to be part of the eu in some fashion, not as members but as associated. >> rose:right. >> instead of being dratd dragged into the common economic space in which they would run the risk of losing their indendence. >> rose: but let's talk about why we needed to talk about reset. what we saw over the lt half of president putin's term is the more the price of oil went up the more he made some good macro economic decisions, the more the economy recovered. and in some sense, the more respect he got in the europeans the less inclined he was to make the kind of fundamental political reforms we thought he needed to do to institutionalize a democratic future for the country and in some sense it reached its a poth owe sister in
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the sense in the russia invasion of georgia and at the time .. there was a lot of uncertainty about how to read that. was it a one off effort to knockdown the president or was this the first of sort of a return to a 19th century diomacy, today georgia, tomorrow the ukraine and maybe the balance ticks later, and in order to make the point that this could not be the future of russian diplomacy in europe, we basically through most of the relationship in the sink. we were able to tactically to prevent the russians from over turning sarkash and the internationasystem posed aot of penalties on russia for this activity and we made the point this could not happen again. so when we left office and the obama administration came into office, sure, by design, in
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response to what russian had done in georgia we had driven the relationship to a very low point. whoever was elected in november of 2008 was going to have to start restoring that relationship with russia and that is in some sense the context of reset. >> one of the major issues of contention is also the question of theo-called missile shield that the united states desires to have in central europe, and now also in turkey. >> rose: the idea is that it is to defend against iran. >> exactly. and the russians have a very different view of this. whether it is sincere or whether it is tactical can be dated but it certainly is a source of contention. >> rose: so what is the relationship -- go ahead. >> i was going to say, i think both zbig and steve are right but to me the reset is almost wholly psychological and it worked, it was -- >> made them feel like -- >> it changed the atmosphere. all of these things have come
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up, let's just change the atmosphere. and they were suspicious at first but it was the right thing to d >> so how do we measure whatever cooperation there might be with respect to russia having to do with iran, especially, and other places where they could play a constructive role? >> >> anybody. >> i think there are a number of areas where we can cooperate, iran is one. >> rose: and are they prepared to do it is my question. >> they have been increasingly cooperative on iran. they a increasingly cooperative on afghanistan. they have a real stake in afghanistan, because a lot of the drugs come from afghanistan and gohrough russia. so i think there are a lot of substantive areas where we can, in fact, cooperate more. i agree with that, i think one of the things that is not appreciated as at least during
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georgia, bush's administration how cooperative russia was on iran. holding up, dragging their feet on bushear and really conductg some really intense diplomacy to try to get the iranians to agree to freeze their enrichment program and come back to an agreement that was negotiated between iran and the europeans in 2005. i think they get a back retation in some sense because they seem so reluctant to go on -- go along withthe un security council resolutions and i think that is true, an they could be -- they could have been more cooperative there, but i think a lot of the behind the scenes way, they were very cooperative on iran and put real pressure on iran and they were pretty good partners on iran. i think, though, the problem is in the end of the day, the russians don't believe our strategy is going to work. >> rose: with respect to iran? >> with respect to iran. >> rose: that w we can't stop them from having a nuclear
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weapon,? >> they believe that our current strategy of sanctions and pressure will not work, and they don't want to walk down the road of a failed policy and be stuck with a destroyed relationship wi iran because iran is, of course a lot closer to them than us. i hither wrong about that, but i think the bottom line is, they don't see our strategy as succeeding, and russians will tell you, but they don't have an alternative strategy that will. in fairness, one has to say that the russians aren't isolad in that pnt of view. that is to say quite a few other countries in the world have real doubts about our policy towards iran, china, in some respects india, in some respect turkey. in some aren'ts brazil. and so forth. >> rose: but is there a common denominator among those countries in which they are saying, the u.s. is on the wrong
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course but this is the right course and we all agree? >> no. >> rose: other than negotiations. >> they are dived, they are divided but they also do some things that on some issues in the policy of sanctions is too rigid, and the willingness to compromise on some issues is not exactly overwhelming. >> rose: you agree with that, don't you? >> i tend to be critical of our policy towards iran. i think we are unintentionally creating the fusion between kind of prinlive iranian theocracy and iranian nationalism which is embraced be at this much more advanced and democratically oriented portions of iranian society which are nonetheless very resentful that we are treati iran as a kind of ostracized enemy. >> rose: larry you sat in the white house, and the principle focus was on the economy. the u.s. domestic economy and the global economy, where does russia come in in all of that? >> the commercial significance
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of russia has never been that great for the united states, prince apply because the russian economy just isn't that large and rich and secondarily because like geographically big countries, the russian economy isnot that open. so the reason why economic issues with respect to russia have been so important is because of their political, political significance. look, i have been involved over the years in discussions of wto accession for any number of countries, and i participated in those discussions in two administrations, and theres no other country where the wto, where the interest of the national security council relative to the level of
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tere of the department of commerce was with respect to russia, usually the department of commerce is profoundly interested in the national security has a lot of things to worry about, beuse the national security council is very concerned with issues of knitting russia into the global system, they car profoundly, because the department of commerce is concerd with quantities of commerce, their interest is seconry. >> rose: all right. russia's weight as an economic power over the next decade will be largely dependent on what happens to the price of oil. $150 oil, you are going to see a lot of stuff in russia, 60-dollar oil, you are not going to see an economic event that is important in a commercial sense. >> rose: let me close this with a broader sort of -- this is a country of great landmass, this is a country of huge,
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wonderful, extraordinary culture. this is a country, lots of nuclear weapons, and this is a country that has been -- had its deep economic issues and finally, this is a country unlike rising powers faces a declining population and demographics. >> i think we are looking at a country that is gog through a trsition, a historic transition. russia back to the days of peter the great had a debate about whether they were really an asian culture or a european culture thatdidn't share in the renaissance and the reformation. thethey are still basically the. and i think they are now searching for their soul, they have had three, four presidents since the end of the cold war. there will be more.
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and i thinke ought to behave in a way which encourages them to conclude they are a part of europe. and a productive part of europe. but it is going to take a long time. and they are not going to do -- they are not going to go the way they go because of what we tell them. but th atmosphere that hopefully we can create that willttract them. >> rose: it is one of the puzzles about russia which is a country that is a genius for music, for literature, for science, and has such trouble with politics, and i don't think we know where russia goes but i don't think we will really know until the current generation leaves the scene and the next generation starts to come forward. there are people who make arguments of a bottom up elements that will encourage democracy in the future. we hav have to see it, it will n the hands of the next generation and i think we really won't know until they begin to emee on
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e scene. >> i think we will get some clues from two very important developmen, one in the short run and one in the longer run. if ukraine continues to succeed in maintaining its independence an preserving some significant degree o democracy within, although that is being tested right now, if it remains friendly to russia, i emphasize that, but at the same time considering everything i have said, moves towards the west, which it wiss to do, through closer ties with the eopean union, that will have a very significant impact on the way the russians he stroferl and look at their own future, because it will tell the russians two things. one, you cannot be an empire again, but, two, there is an alternative path, which is productive, which is to go the
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same way as ukraine, and that in turn is dependent on the second thing which is a clue to us, namely, will there be in the foreseeable future some genuine turn toward the constitutionalatn of the russian potical system. because without that, it is very difficult to envisage the process of moving toward the west being sustained, and these things we can observe, we can measure, and in some degree we can encourage, one by being open to the ukrainians and two by not in any way viewing them as turning against russia, but ther viewing them as anticipating russia's future, and to the extent that we can, by contact, education and so forth but without too many -- try to support the democratic forc in russia which ultimately have to be their own, they can't be a pduct of our
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own making. >> charlie, i agree with essentlly everything that, everything that has been said. but i would put it in a slightly different way. until 20 years ago, russia was the most extraordinary of adversaries. in important respect it is united states as a country, its policy, its society was defined by the cold war and the soviet union was our adversary. today, russia is a far more ordinary country. it is no longer the society by which against which we define ourselves. it is probably at this moment not one of the three to five societies that is the largest source of potenti national
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security problems for the united states. its internal developments are of no greater concern to the lives of ordinary americans than internal developments in a significant number of oth countries. it will face challenges and fluctuations, move in ways that are better for i ways that are more constructive in termsf our relationship, there wl be waves that will move in the other direction, but it is much more in the nature of the kind of relations that the united states has with a group of major nations of which russia remains one, and will be one, than it is the north star of amecan
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strategy and american policy. that is, i think, the largest change from the world o20 years ago. that doesn't mean these kind of deliberations are no longer important, of course they are. but they no longer have theind of trance sentence and importance than they had for much of the post secon second wd war period .. >> rose: i was thinking about this look of this list of people that had enormous iluence, a lot has changed since your colleague henry kissinr wt to china and then the big, led to the recogniti of china. the initial motivation was to find, in part, leverage against russia. >> oh, absolutely. it was. it was to split the two and to make common cause with the
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chinese, although i must say, at the same time, we started the policy of detente. >> >> rose: yes. >> to sort of balance things off, but, yes, that was the really first attempt to change things. if you look at elementary economic textbook from 1960, it talkabout trends in the world economy, and it suggests that it is quite likely, not certain, but really quite a substantial chance that russian standards of living will exceed american standards of living by 1985. john kennedy thought it was quite likely that russia would surpass the united states as an economic power. so it is a profound change and i wod say that the magnitude of that chae and the magnitude of the misperceptions we had should above all caution us that as we
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look at the world today we should look at it with very much an awareness that an enormous range of out comes and evolutions are possibilities, and that those which seem most likely today may seem quite absurd a generatn from now. >> and let me jump in here. i was in the government in the 1970s and i have been deeply involved in this issue. i don't know about john kennedy and his predictions for russia, but i can't recall too many people in american government in the 1970's who thought that russia would surpass america in economic power in the standard of living in the 1980s. the russians were claiming they would do that. that was khrushchev's plan, what was the concern was they would maintain military superiority, that was the real worry because underneath that there was awareness of the fact that the
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economic wasn't what the russians were proclaiming it was, that it was running down into the group, that it was stalemated, and that these were sort of estimates that were devoid of much rationale at this,, rash facility, in fact by the late seventies by the russian elite there was a pervasive understanding that they were not leaving the industal age and entering the age of the internet and cputer and it was stagnating and that was the underpinning. >> rose: notwithstanding space exploration. >> space exploration was wonderful but remember they lost the race to the moon, and they didn't accomplish much after that. they intent a lot of resources in competing with us and they realized this wasn't working. so they still had left the nuclear weapons which were really competitive and the illusion proclaimed by khrushchev propagated, and by brezhnev they would surpass us in economic power where in fact
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they were measuring that race by steel and by coal and things of that sort, and timber, but not by all of the new dimensions. >> i think if you go back, what you are saying is right and i would stand by what i said and i would note that the late 1950's and early 1960s to the late 19s was quite a long time, and quite a lot became clear over that 15 to 20 year period tt was not clear at the beginning of that period, and had a great deal to do, as you suggest, with the mease of economic success, having less and less to do with how many ns of steel y produce. >> what were really talking about was the early sixties because that was the err are a of the sputnik and the that gave a burst to this kind of historical pessimism but believe me by the seventies and eighties. >> i agree with that. >> few serious people believed
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that. >> and the interesting thing too is president reagan dealt with gorbachev and rbachev was frightened about a space initiative that there was some shield that was possible, because as he said, he believed that the soviet union could not keep up. >> that is absolutely right. i think, though, we have to remind ourselves ere was certainly the economidy mentions, there was the national security dimensions, there was also ideological dimensions. this was, you know, communism, which had a -- many of us feared in the sixties, seventies and eighties, d some people thought this was actually the wave of the future and the united states was going to go into decline, and, of course, what was the casualty? of the events we celebrate 20 years ago, it was not only thefreeing of eastern europe and the end of the soviet union but it was the death of communism and the end of communism as an ideology and
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i remember at one point, president putin was in the oval office with president george w. bush and we were talking about the end of that period, and president putin says, rember, there were a whol generation of russians who were willing to die for communism, and i was one of those. it tells you how far we have me. >> putin said that? >> he did. >> he didn'tfight in the war so i don't know how he would die. >> rose: thank you very much. brent, thank you very much, steve, thank you zbig, thank you, larry. thank you for joining us for this remarkable conversation, 20 years after the fall and collapse of the soviet union, who are the personalities that shaped it? what was the u.s.'s role in terms of responding to it and the western world, and whe is russia today and how -- what role can it play in the
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world? all questions we have addressed here and we thank you for joining us. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh >> funding f charlie rose has been provided by the coca-cola
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company, supporting this program since 2002. and american express. additional funding provided by these funders. and by bloomberg, a provider of multedia news and information services worldwide. multedia news and information services worldwide. >>
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>> tom: stocks and commodities rally, with greece promising new taxes in an effort to avoid default. is it a turning point for the markets?